My son loves to cajole me and my husband into having in-home campouts. As the clock ticks past his bedtime, he’ll run to his room, grab his blanket and pillow, then run back into the living room or our bedroom and sing: “We’re camping out!”
For his birthday last weekend, we decided to take him and one of his best buddies for a little in-door “camping” fun beyond the confines of our house. We took them to Great Wolf Lodge Southern California in Garden Grove—a large cabin-looking resort for kids and families— one brimming with water rides, “Wolf Dens” and all the modern amenities and varieties of play an 11-year-old could want. We had to pry the boys from the hotel room. They went crazy for the part of our suite called “Wolf Den,” which, with its treehouse like flair, bunk beds and separate TV, had them yelping with joy.
We knew all manner of other fun—a MagiQuest adventure (complete with wands and “mystery boxes” located throughout the resort), an impressive arcade, glow-in-the-dark golf, mini bowling lanes, a theater, tons of food and desserts and, of course, the massive indoor water park—was just an elevator ride away.
It was great to see the boys spend so much time on thrilling water slides and in the wave pool (and to join them), but as summer approaches, the folks at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California, the largest family of indoor water park resorts in North America, remind us to beef up our water safety measures as we head for pools, water parks, lakes and beaches.
The following water-safety tips are from Aquatics Director Wendy Rosales:
Never swim alone. Always use the buddy system and be sure the area is well supervised by lifeguards before you or other family members enter the water.
- Encourage your child to wear a life jacket. Many public pools and water parks provide life jackets for your use free of charge and it’s better to be on the safe side if your child is not a confident swimmer.
- Never assume someone else is watching your child. Even with lifeguards nearby, you have the responsibility for your child. The best way to keep your child safe is to play right alongside them.
- Stay hydrated. Swimming and playing takes a lot of energy, especially during the hot summer months. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks and rest in a cool location.
- Forget the bling. Before heading to the beach, pool or water park, avoid swimsuits that have ties, grommets or decorations that could get caught on something during water activities.
- Skip the flip-flops. Look for sandals with a heel strap or a full-coverage slip-on water shoe that will stay in place both in and out of the water.
- Too much sun is no fun. Be sure to limit your exposure during peak hours of 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., and reapply waterproof/sweat proof sunscreen every 80 minutes.
- Take a CPR course. Knowing these skills can be important in any environment. This is a skill we all can benefit from – on land and around water.
- Read all of the signs before going on a waterslide, pool or attraction. Make sure your child meets the posted requirements. If you have questions about an attraction, ask an employee at the facility.
- Plan ahead. As a family, decide on a meeting place to go to if anyone gets separated. Kids can take off in instant, and crowded parks and beaches can make it difficult for little ones to find you. Choose an easy-to-spot location that can be quickly reached by all family members.
- If you see someone struggling in the water, call for help. Remember “Reach or Throw, Don’t Go!” Even professionally trained lifeguards don’t enter the water without having the proper flotation devices to keep themselves safe.